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Escape from Los Angeles

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

Los Angeles has often been looked at as a haven for beautiful people but after last week, things are pretty ugly in the "City of Angels."

Remember a while back when I said the Knicks' fanbase in New York was taken captive, and even Snake Plissken couldn't pull off the rescue mission?

Well, between Donald Sterling, his gold-digging "friend," the aftermath in "Clipper Land" and the continued Laker disarray, I don't like Snake's chances in the L.A. sequel either.

If you don't have a TV, you missed last week's media extravaganza.

Sterling, the long-time Clippers owner, found himself in boiling hot water as a tape that contained a conversation between he and his mistress leaked.

In the tape, he urged her not to publicly associate with black people; he even named Los Angeles legend Magic Johnson specifically. He went on to say that she could do whatever she wanted with them; just don't bring them to the games.

Justifiably, a firestorm of outrage ensued. How could someone this ignorant and prejudiced be a team owner? But here is even a better question. How can someone this ignorant and prejudiced be the owner of a team in the NBA--where over 80 percent of the players are black?

This is nothing new to Sterling. He's been considered a notorious jerk and bigot long before this audio tape ever went viral.

He has had multiple lawsuits filed against him for housing discrimination when he refused to rent apartments to blacks and Hispanics.

Former Clipper executive and Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race after Sterling froze his salary at a meager $350,000 while others were making millions.

After the audio was released, the story seemed to be on every station for every minute of the day.

Everyone wanted his head on a silver platter (pun intended) and last Tuesday, newly-appointed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver finally gave them their wish.

Silver banned Sterling for life. He can continue to be a jerk and keep the team out of spite but if the other league owners vote three-fourths for him to be axed, that final act of defiance will be short-lived.

Either way, Sterling is finally out of the league. Clipper fans are not expected to shed any tears.

The truth is, even if you exclude his winning personality and his backwoods, 1942 way of thinking, he was one of the worst owners in the history of professional sports.

Prior to the arrival of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, they had only made it to the playoffs four times in 27 seasons while in L.A. In the majority of those 27 seasons, they were the butt of far too many jokes.

So, to say that many were rejoicing when Sterling received his punishment would be a gross understatement.

But now that Sterling is on the train out of town, maybe it's time for his alleged former lover to hit the bricks as well.

Lost in the shuffle is her unscrupulous behavior in all of this. Sure, she was able to out a man that certainly needed to be outed, but she's no Mother Theresa.

She's the 31-year-old alleged mistress to an 80-year-old married man that routinely recorded their private conversations for her own shady gain.

Sure, she claims that she wasn't his girlfriend and that she didn't leak the tape. However, when you find out that Sterling gave her a $1.8 million apartment and later sued her to reclaim it, everything makes sense, doesn't it?

I'm sure it won't be long until she's profiting off of this with book deals and a future reality show.

Yep, things can get awfully ugly in Hollywood, but it doesn't end there.

The Lakers are having their own grotesque problems. Most notably, they're being run by "The Three Stooges" in Jim, Johnny and Jeanie Buss.

After inexplicably hiring Mike D'Antoni as head coach over Phil Jackson, the Lakers have nose-dived the past two years. This season, they finished just 27-55.

Finally, D'Antoni chose to resign last Thursday--opening the position to a new list of candidates that include UConn's Kevin Ollie, Kentucky's John Callapri and the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau.

As the Lakers search for a new leader, much of the same can be said for the Clippers.

Now that Sterling is out of the picture, every Tom, Dick and Harry with an ample bank account wants to own the team--from Floyd Mayweather Jr., to Oprah and even to Frankie Muniz.

I think with Malcolm in charge, the Clippers may fall back to the middle of the pack but on the other hand, I guess he wouldn't be any worse than Sterling.